My beautiful commute takes me past sheep farms, dairy farms, a llama farm, and through some state game lands. I'm very grateful for the quiet country roads that I traverse twice daily. It's a familiar path I've followed for over ten years. Other traffic is minimal--I may encounter a handful of cars along the way--and the driving is pleasant. Once I came across a roving herd of cows. Traffic was barely mooo-ving that day.
Last night, as I was driving home, I started thinking about a question that I have been working with for some time: how to incorporate both my painting and my stitching into coherent pieces. I'm enraptured by painting, there's no doubt about that, but I still want to use my stitching. It was through quilting that I found my creative path, so it's important for me to honor and incorporate my stitching background into my work. I'm been trying different ways to meld them both together, but haven't quite found the combination that makes my heart sing.
As I was driving, I began playing with different possibilities in my mind. It was a very fruitful and fast process. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like swiping from one picture to the next on my iPhone: one idea would appear, I would examine and ask questions of it, and then a modified idea would appear. I came home with a handful of potential ideas to try.
And so after a delicious dinner of grilled ribeye and asparagus followed by strawberries and cream (nothing beats seasonal, local eats), I went into my studio and started fooling around with fabric. I started pulling pale shades of aqua and green, which lead me to pale yellows and peaches. I placed them on a piece of felt in a colorwash design and stitched them down using an irregular grid. I grabbed some unpainted paper cloth and cut out a bird and the letters S-O-A-R. I marked them with pencil and then used light washes of acrylic ink to add color. Then I stitched them down. I stretched the piece around an old canvas (learning how to use and load a staple gun in the process) and called it finished.
The other idea I want to try--and I don't think this is the right piece for it--is brushing gloss medium onto the piece after it is stretched. I've played a little with gloss medium on quilted patchwork before and I really like how it confounds expectations: it looks like fabric but is shiny.
As I'm playing with mixing media I'm discovering new perspectives on stitching, painting, and art. It will be interesting to see where future commutes take me.